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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

Like a lot of people, I’ve never been one to read the instructions. Most devices are fairly self-explanatory and I’m not stupid. So why waste the time? Since becoming the technical writer at Guardian Fall Protection that opinion has entirely changed. Now that I’m writing the instructions, I get it. Give me something today and the first thing I’m going to ask is “Where are the instructions?”

Yes, it’s true that most things, even most things in fall protection are the sort of items that anyone familiar with the industry can figure out. That said, I’ve found that on almost every occasion, reading the instructions not only solidified what I already know but frequently would tell me of abilities and features I wasn’t aware of at all.

Regardless of how long you’ve been in the industry, technology is constantly changing and learning is a life-long process. Even if you’ve used the equipment before, reading or rereading the instructions can be a great refresher.

Sure, you might know how to use the fall arrest system you’re tied into, but do you know what, if any, self-rescue equipment might be included in your system? Are there limitations you might not be aware of? Can the equipment you’re using be used for both work positioning and fall arrest?

These questions aren’t only important, they can potentially mean the difference between going home and going home in a body bag. You should always want to know more about your equipment. And just as importantly, you want your fellow workers to read the instructions and know that they know the capabilities of their equipment just as well as you do.

No one who falls expects to fall. If they did, they wouldn’t go up there. When a fall happens, the only two things you have to rely on are your equipment and the knowledge of you and your coworkers. A gap in that knowledge can mean the life of you or one of your coworkers. This is a dangerous industry, but using the right equipment and reading the instructions so you know that equipment can make it safer.